70 Park Avenue
The Kimpton Group's first New York outpost, set in quiet, largely residential Murray Hill, may not exactly have the sexiest location, but it's one of the city's better-kept secrets: a mid-priced, boutique-size hotel with the same style and amenities as those in the $$$$ range. The 205 guest rooms, though on the small side, have been outfitted by designer Jeffrey Bilhuber (whose celebrity clients have included Iman, David Bowie, and Peter Jennings): minimalist, pale-wood furnishings, large mirrors, and wall-mounted flat-screen TV's all help the spaces feel airier than they are. Downstairs, the slick, golden-lit Silverleaf Tavern is a great place to unwind, either for predinner cocktails or dinner itself (the short-rib-stuffed knish is too decadent to be considered bar food).
Tip: If you're planning a romantic weekend visit, engage the services of an in-house "romance sommelier," who'll make sure that upon check-in, your room is carpeted with rose petals and furnished with bubbly.
Room to Book: Northeast-facing corner units on the higher floors have killer views of the Chrysler Building.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.